Halftime lead upset by blitz

02:05, Jul 03 2013

Ellesmere's senior rugby side plays its final warm-up match today before the annual Southbridge shield encounter.

The representative squad travels south to take on Mid Canterbury this afternoon in its second match of 2013.

Their season opened with a 12-33 loss to Marlborough in a classic game of two halves at Takahanga Domain in Kaikoura on Wednesday.

Ellesmere started the match strongly, dominating territory and possession to be up 12-0 at the break.

Fullback Mark Maitland opened the scoring with a slick try after a break by first-five BJ Te Kani. Ten minutes later they were in again, when outstanding wing Leonard van de Velde beat two defenders to score.

The second 40 minutes were in stark contrast to the first.

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Sam Aolele scored early for Marlborough, before Te Kani was yellow-carded for persistent offside infringements.

Down to 14 men, Ellesmere quickly conceded tries to Regan Marshall, Kaleni Taetuli and Aolele - to go from 12 points ahead to 14 down in the space of 15 minutes.

Marlborough's four-try blitz was enough to sink a spirited Ellesmere outfit, who were disappointed in the performance of Marlborough referee Joe Bancroft.

Coach Mark Treweek said his players handled themselves well given their frustrations.

To their credit, Ellesmere kept fighting and Treweek said there were positives to take from the game.

He highlighted the individual performances of debutant van der Velde, Steven Les-Godwin and Richard Mills as standouts.

Treweek and fellow coach Wayne Gugich tried to rest Southbridge and Lincoln players before Saturday's final in Kaikoura, so hope to name a stronger lineup for today's match.

Fairfax Media